With increasing emphasis on public engagement and scientific communication and dissemination, scientists are increasingly required to redefine their academic identity. Theoretical frameworks of academic identity and social media functionality were used to explore food researchers' attitudes towards social media.
An online study was carried out with 80 scientists working in publicly funded food research.
Commitment to scientific rigour, disseminating science to society, and being part of an academic community were important facets of academic identity and shaped participants' perceptions of social media functions. Functions offered by social media were most favourably viewed by the food research community for academic peer engagement and academic community building.
Cultural and organisational changes are needed to mobilise food researchers to view public engagement as an important facet of academic identity.
The current study adds to the theoretical literature on academic identity and social media functionality by providing empirical evidence outlining how scientists working in publicly funded food research feel about engaging with social media within their professional role.
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